Whether they’re used for laughing, kissing, showing off lipsticks, or sipping on coffees – we owe it to our lips the ability to experience some of life’s greatest pleasures. Our lips are our hardest working facial feature, meaning whether we like it or not, the telltale signs of wear and tear will inevitably start to show up over time. These early signs of aging can surprise us in as early as our twenties, which is right around the time when the skin starts producing approximately 1-2% less collagen every year.
What are the main signs of aging lips, and how do you stop them?
1. Thinning lips
While other areas of the body fill out as we age, our lips sadly experience the opposite effect of losing their precious, pouty volume. Collagen depletion is the main reason for this, as collagen and elastin are absolutely critical for providing structure, shape, and youthful suppleness to the skin. Accelerating factors for prematurely thinning lips can include exposure to UV rays and free radicals produced from smoking. Wear broad spectrum SPF-enriched lip balm at all times and consider hyaluronic acid-based injectable dermal fillers such as Juvederm or Restylane to restore volume and smooth out fine lines. Make sure to select an experienced and certified cosmetic surgeon to perform lip filler injections, because technique is key to achieving natural-looking results while also stimulating long-term collagen cell production. Not all lip fillers are done with the intention of creating puffy, Kardashian-looking lips, after all!
2. Lip lines and wrinkles
With the combination of environmental aggressors such as UV rays and the constant contraction of facial muscles around the mouth, you’re looking at a recipe for early onset lip lines and wrinkles. Vertical lines, AKA smoker’s lines or lipstick lines, typically begin forming on the lips of adults in their 30’s or younger. The appearance of these wrinkles can easily age you by 10 or so years, and even make applying lipsticks a struggle. Just like facial serums, antiaging serums for the lips exist too! They deliver hydration, moisture, and a surge of antiaging ingredients such as vitamin C and retinol into the skin to keep your lips plump, smooth, and youthful. Microneedling, a popular skin rejuvenation procedure that creates micro-injuries in the skin to encourage cell re-generation, is also a great option to help with pesky lines that just won’t go away. Our pro-tip is to invest in a handy derma-roller, which does the trick in the comforts of home and without the nasty blow to your wallet!
3. Dry and flaking lips
When the skin layers of our lips thin out due to aging, they become more susceptible to drying out and flaking. You can avoid unsightly scaly lips by firstly kicking your habit of licking, biting, and picking at your lips. Licking your lips actually worsens the problem, because lips become drier after saliva evaporates from the surface. While outside, slather on a non-irritating lip balm with SPF 30 or higher, which can help protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays while providing the boost of moisture your lips need to stay supple. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated and try different methods of exfoliation to slough away layers of dead, flaky skin cells and to help plump up the skin. To save an expensive trip to your dermatologist, our tip is to use plain old sugar from your pantry at home. Gently rub the granules in circular motions over and around your lips before rinsing, and behold your softer, smoother, and younger-looking lips.
Thin, dehydrated, and wrinkled “pancake” lips are aging nightmares that we don’t wish to encounter anytime soon. Treat your amazing lips with the same love and care as the rest of your face, and you’ll be able to slow down your aging process by years – even decades.